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Romantic City Getaways


ROMANTIC APPEAL Described by a Catalan poet as "the great enchantress," Barcelona has been the muse to artists Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, and architect Antoni Gaudí.
WHERE TO STAY The beachfront Hotel Arts (19-21 Carrer de la Marina; 800/241-3333; www.ritzcarlton.com; doubles from $485) is a 44-story tower of glass and steel. The new Zen-like Hotel Omm (265 Carrer Rosselló; 866/376-7831; www.hotelomm.es; doubles from $375) puts a luxurious spin on minimalism.
TABLE FOR TWO Take your tapas in the wood-beamed Vinotinto Parrilla (27 Carrer Aribau; 34/93-451-1027; dinner for two $60). Or have a late meal of Asian-accented Mediterranean fare at the Carpe Diem Lounge Club (32 Paseo Maritim; 34-93/224-0470; dinner for two $70).
SEXIEST SHOP A nesting emporium, Vinçon (96 Passeig de Gràcia; 34/93-215-6050) is packed with whimsical goodies for the design aficionado.
STEAL A KISS Grab a bottle of Rioja and head over to Bogatell, the hottest beach in town.

Buenos Aires

ROMANTIC APPEAL Home to the fiery tango and the passionate culture that invented it, Buenos Aires has a soul that's wonderfully lost between Europe and South America, between the past and present.
WHERE TO STAY Pass your time in deep luxury at the Alvear Palace Hotel (1891 Avda. Alvear; 800/223-6800; www.alvearpalace.com; doubles from $550), an opulent, marble-laden place. On a quiet street in the Palermo district, Bo-Bo (4882 Guatemala; 54-11/4774-0505; www.bobohotel.com; doubles from $110) has seven themed rooms that run from Deco to techno.
TABLE FOR TWO Head to the neighborhood of La Boca, famed for its colorful houses, and have a plate of transcendent lasagna at Il Materello (517 Martín Rodríguez; 54-11/4307-0529; lunch for two $35). To see the city's lustier side, swing past the gigantic brass doors and gargantuan flower arrangements to the over-the-top Casa Cruz (1658 Uriate; 54-11/4833-1112; dinner for two $100).
SEXIEST SHOP Pick up butter-soft carpincho leather gloves and belts at Casa López (640 M.T. de Alvear; 54-11/4311-3044).
STEAL A KISS Tango your way to La Calesita (1350 Avda. Comodoro Martín Rivadavia; 54-11/4743-3631; $2 for entry, $1.75 for lessons; Saturdays starting at 9 p.m., November-March), an open-air dance party in the Nuñez neighborhood.


ROMANTIC APPEAL Sydney's siren song is a carefree lifestyle, secret beaches, a dazzling harbor, and endless summers.
WHERE TO STAY Watch the yachts sail in at the waterside Blue (6 Cowper Wharf Rd.; 800/025-5250; www.tajhotels.com; doubles from $862). Check into the Park Hyatt (7 Hickson Rd.; 800/233-1234; sydney.park.hyatt.com; doubles from $425) for discreet service and some of the city's best Opera House views.
TABLE FOR TWO The Japanese-French fusion cuisine at Tetsuya's (529 Kent St.; 61-2/9267-2900; dinner for two $265) is presided over by master chef Tetsuya Wakuda. As ringside seats go, nothing beats Guillaume at Bennelong (Circular Quay; 61-2/9241-1999; dinner for two $133), in the Opera House.
SEXIEST SHOP Indulge your romantic side at Collette Dinnigan (33 William St.; 61-2/9360-6691) with dresses and lingerie in the designer's lacy, feminine style.
STEAL A KISS The 15-minute tour from Sydney by Seaplane (61-2/9974-1455; $200 for two) takes in the Sydney Harbour Bridge as well as South Head, with views along Bondi and Brontë beaches.


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